Park Wavelengths - February 2009


Friday, February 27, 2009

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:

Subject: Park Wavelengths - Spawner Update

After performing surveys on Olema, Redwood, and Cheda Creeks last week both field staff and volunteers were disappointed by the lack of new spawning activity. No coho were observed in both Redwood and Cheda Creeks. One live coho and one coho redd was observed on Olema Creek. Steelhead and steelhead redds were observed on both Olema and Redwood Creeks. This is the typical time of year for steelhead spawning so I was not surprised to find both steelhead redds and live adults. We are now past the typical window for coho spawning and I don't expect to find any new coho spawning activity even after this last set of storms. Other regional monitoring programs have observed similar results for this year. The total coho count for the season is very low with only 2 coho redds, 1 live coho, and 2 coho carcasses observed on Redwood creek and 2 live coho with only one coho redd on Olema Creek. For Olema Creek this is the lowest coho count on record. We will conduct snorkel surveys this summer that will confirm if any coho spawning was successful from this winter.

Michael Reichmuth
Fishery Biologist
National Park Service

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February 25, 2009

Bright Venus is appearing low in the sky each evening soon to disappear from our viewing over the Olema Valley to return as the morning star in a month or so. March's full moon on March 11th brings some low daylight afternoon tides:

Friday, March 6 1:28 pm -0.4 feet
Saturday, March 7 2:21 pm -0.6 feet
Sunday, March 8 4:06 pm -0.6 feet
Monday, March 9 4:45 pm -0.4 feet
Tuesday, March 10 5:25 pm -0.1 feet

Spring is sliding in with daffodils blazing a yellow streak across the old bulb farm near the Hostel. These hardy survivors date from the period between World War II and park creation in 1962 when a commercial bulb farm operated in this area. Visitors may pick 6 flowers per day for personal use. Lot's of yellow throughout the seashore—blossoms on the California Bay tree and the exotic Acacia trees also offering dabs of color in the winter gray.

The annual seal protection measures go into place this Sunday, March 1st as harbor seal pupping season begins. Drakes Estero closes to boating and South Blue Gums Beach on Tomales Bay close from March 1st through June 30 to allow seals to come ashore and deliver their pups in peace. The season is off to an early start with the first pup born at Double Point last week. Elephant seal numbers continue to drop as the season winds down.

Trail crews are completing preliminary work clearing brush to repair the Kelham Beach Trail; they hope to have it repaired and open by fall 2009.

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February 13, 2009

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Email List:

Please join us for this upcoming lunch presentation at the Red Barn at Point Reyes National Seashore. All are welcome and admission is free:

Date: Thursday, February 26th, from 12:00 - 12:45
Title: "Rangeland Best Management Practices: Reducing sediment, pathogen, and nutrient delivery to Tomales Bay"
Speaker: Beth Eisenberg, Point Reyes National Seashore Range Technician
Place: Red Barn Classroom at Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters

Ben Becker, Ph.D.
Director and Marine Ecologist
Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center
The Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center is one of 21 Research Learning Centers at National Parks across the country working to increase the effectiveness and communication of research and science through:

  • Facilitating the use of parks for scientific inquiry
  • Supporting science-informed decision making
  • Communicating relevance and providing access to research knowledge
  • Promoting resource stewardship through partnerships

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February 10, 2009

The new moon rises February 24th and the tides resume less extreme differences, gone are those 7 foot high tides until July. Venus is the bright star in the evening as you travel west down Sir Francis Drake into Olema Valley, it appears in the sky. Traditionally, in this early spring time, first Californians were very hungry waiting for the first Checkerbloom, Red maids and soaproot to bloom and indicate the roots were tender enough to eat.

No word on salmon counts as of this writing. Once the sediment settles down after the rains, researchers hope to get out and look for fish along Olema Creek this week.

Northern Elephant seal populations in the park peaked at 1320 animals last week; numerous observations were made of breeding and wrestling in the colony this weekend. One female was observed nursing three pups instead of the usual one; hope she heads to Hawaii soon for a little R&R. A pup tagged at Point Reyes last year was observed on Vancouver Island in Washington in apparent good health; typically males leave for Alaska and females for Hawaii once the breeding season is over in late February. Whale sightings continue the February lull, none reported over the damp weekend.

New wildflowers blooming at Chimney Rock are Douglas Iris tiny violets, low along the trail as well as Chocolate Lilies. Marin County Open Space Rangers will be leading a walk from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am on February 19 to find early species; meet at the parking lot at Chimney Rock.

All park visitor centers will be open Monday, Presidents Holiday Weekend and if the weather is fair, Sir Francis Drake Highway will be closed at South Beach and shuttles operated.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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